For Immediate Release - February 25, 2007

PATRICK/MURRAY BUDGET TO EXPAND PUBLIC HEALTH PROGRAMS BY OVER $72 MILLION

Early intervention for children, universal immunization, and disease prevention programs all to receive major funding boosts.

BOSTON - Sunday, February 25 - Massachusetts public health programs including those focused on children and disease prevention will receive a $72 million boost in the Fiscal Year 2008 state budget Governor Deval L. Patrick will file on Wednesday.

The funding represents a 15 percent increase over the Fiscal Year 2007 budget. Under the Patrick/Murray administration's leadership, funding for Early Intervention Services, the Universal Immunization Program, and Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Services at the Department of Public Health will all be expanded.

"These programs and services encourage healthy living practices and can prevent serious health problems in the future," said Governor Patrick. "These investments not only save lives but also reduce treatment costs in the future."

"I am committed to rebuilding the Department of Public Health so that it is once again viewed as one of the best in the country. This budget reflects our recognition of the need for a strong public health department to protect the health and well being of all residents of the Commonwealth," said JudyAnn Bigby, Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Highlights include:

  • Increasing the Universal Immunization Program by $24.8M to cover three new immunizations for children, a 67% increase over this fiscal year. Governor Patrick will recommend increasing the funding for the Universal Immunization Program to provide coverage for three new vaccines that have been recommended by the Center of Disease Control (CDC). These three new vaccines will prevent children and adolescents from contracting serious illnesses. The Governor's decision to increase funding for the Universal Immunization Program will provide 71,334 infants with the Rotavirus vaccine and 108,188 children with the Meningococcal Conjugate vaccine. In addition, 72,126 girls between the ages of 9 and 18 will be provided the Human Papilloma Virus Vaccine (HPV). Massachusetts is one of 10 states in the Nation with universal childhood vaccine distribution programs. In Massachusetts, all routinely recommended vaccines are available free of charge to children through 18 years of age.

  • Investing an additional $21.6M in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Programs, a 168% increase over this fiscal year.In the Governor's FY08 Budget recommendation, prevention programs will be consolidated under one Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Program. This consolidation will allow for a more comprehensive approach to promoting health and preventing disease. The Governor also recommends funding overall prevention programs at $34.4M, a $21.6M increase over FY07. Consolidating these accounts will facilitate health promotion and disease prevention activities across all programs while maintaining efforts to ensure breast cancer prevention, prostate cancer screening, stroke awareness, Hepatitis C prevention, teen pregnancy prevention, and suicide prevention. Included in this increase is $12M in additional funding for the Smoking Prevention and Cessation Program which is a 282% increase over the current budget. This is the largest increase to this program since FY99.

  • Increasing funding for Early Intervention Programs by $3.8M. The Administration recognizes the importance of Early Intervention for children under the age of 3. In order to ensure these services are available for the families that need them, the Governor has recommended funding this program with an additional $3.8M in FY08. This funding will be used to provide the services of physical therapists, psychologists, occupational therapists, social workers and developmental specialists. With the additional funding recommended by the Governor, DPH will be able to serve the expected 2.5% increase in general Early Intervention cases.